Wednesday, May 30, 2012


In the not so ancient days I learned to navigate for my husband quite accurately using a map. Sometimes, though, the map didn’t make things quite clear enough and we found ourselves going in the wrong direction. It was always a hassle to discover we had done that, turn around, and go back to the error point unless I could find a shortcut on the map that would correct our mistake.

When I lost my husband, I had to learn to navigate for myself. Fortunately, about that time I discovered MapQuest. While that was a great improvement over pulling over to the side of the road to look at the map, I still had to keep close track of how many miles I had gone and how to identify the next turn. If I did make a wrong turn, it couldn’t tell me how to correct my mistake. It didn’t even tell me I had made one, and I could go quite far before realizing I was off track.

Enter the voice of Lucy, my GPS genie. What a modern miracle! I don’t even have to think about navigation. I plug in the address where I want to go and follow Lucy’s directions. She warns me ahead of time when I need to adjust my course in order to reach my destination. If I do happen to make a wrong turn, Lucy says “Recalculating” and tells me how to get back on track.

As I was taking a trip downstate the other day, it occurred to me that the story of my life is similar. If I follow the signs given to me, I will find my way and stay on the path of goodness. Although, I have to admit, Lucy is more of a nag than God. Even though she never gets frustrated or angry, she continues to give me new instructions from wherever I am at that moment. It can get quite irritating if I’ve decided to take a different direction. God also doesn’t seem to get angry or frustrated, but when I go off course He lets me go and waits patiently until I ask for directions. Wherever I am when I do that, He meets me there and shows me His better way.  

In either case, if I rely on Lucy or God to show me the way, I am free of hassle and worry about how to reach my destination.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Another Road Trip

The highways between Michigan and Pennsylvania are familiar to me. I lived in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, for ten years before moving to the state of Washington and returned to Pennsylvania for five years before resettling in my home state of Michigan. During those Pennsylvania years, trips to Michigan occurred at least twice a year: May for my mother’s birthday and either October for the fall colors or November for Thanksgiving. Now that my mother is gone and I live in Michigan I make the trip in reverse for my other family’s events.

Recently, I crossed the mountains heading east. I consciously looked around so I wouldn’t miss the multiple shades of green that covered the mountains like a tapestry. This was unlike my experience last year, driving from Michigan to Seattle, when the effort I had to make was to pay attention to the road instead of the rapidly changing scenery. On both trips, green tapestry covered many mountains. On both trips, also, I looked down into valleys of patchwork quilts, with fresh green crops, brown fields ready for planting, darker green of older crops, and occasional blues of irrigation ponds.

Trying to pinpoint the difference, I realized that to me the Appalachian Mountains are beautiful, and sensuous, like a grand dame of the south. Is it because they are so like a genteel, refined lady that they are confident of their grandeur, with no need to flaunt it? The Rockies, on the other hand, are in your face flamboyant with Yellowstone’s geysers, the Black Hills, the Painted Canyons, and numerous other spectacular formations. Even the Cascades threaten to overcome the senses with awe, while the Appalachians allow you to savor their beauty, like sipping a glass of fine sherry.

What do you think?